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Pakistan

Supreme Court directs SBP to release Rs21bn for Punjab elections

  • Apex court tells central bank to arrange money from Federal Consolidated Fund
Published April 14, 2023

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Friday directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to release Rs21 billion to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to enable it to hold elections in Punjab, reported Aaj News.

In a hearing of the case pertaining to Punjab Assembly elections, it asked the SBP to arrange the money from the Federal Consolidated Fund.

Elections in Punjab, KP: NA body rejects bill about provision of funds to ECP

Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Deputy Governor Sima Kamil, finance secretaries and officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) were summoned on Friday over the government’s failure to disburse funds for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The development comes after the SC ruled on April 4 that Punjab elections should be held on May 14 and directed the federal government to release Rs21 billion to the ECP by April 10 for the polls.

A detailed verdict of today’s hearing is expected soon. What is known is that the SC has expressed concerns over the non-implementation of its order.

Earlier during the day, the federal government submitted a response to the apex court which stated that “act of parliament is needed to disburse funds from the Federal Consolidated Fund and that bill was rejected hence there is no way the federal government can release funds”.

Supreme Court orders Punjab elections to be held on May 14

April 4 ruling

On April 4, the SC stated that the ECP’s decision to postpone polls in Punjab till October 8 was unconstitutional.

It ordered that elections in Punjab be held on May 14 and directed the caretaker government in Punjab to assist the ECP with elections next month. It said the federal government has been asked to assist the commission, ordering authorities to release Rs21 billion to the ECP by April 10.

Govt says it would not accept SC’s ‘hasty decision’

Subsequently, the government floated the “Charged Sum for General Election of Punjab and KP Assemblies Bill, 2023” but the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance unanimously rejected it.

The bill was moved to provide funds to ECP for the general election in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the State Minister for Finance stating that the country being in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme has to remain within the agreed budget deficit.

Last week, the ECP, in a one-page report, informed the court about the government’s reluctance to issue the amount needed for elections.

Comments

Comments are closed.

Tulukan Mairandi Apr 14, 2023 04:52pm
How to release when there is no money!? The country is begging to fund wheat and petrol.
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Maqbool Apr 14, 2023 05:03pm
After the 18th Amendment why doesn’t the Govt of Punjab pay for the Elections , and KP for theirs ? Since the Federations says it doesn’t have the funds ? They keep buying expensive cars and dishing out money and land .
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Mian M N Shite Apr 14, 2023 06:04pm
Now here is a chance for some commercial banks to loan the amount to SBP at exorbitant rates. SBP officials should be happy as the commercial banks will be plying them with monetary and other favours, to loan the money to the SBP. Endemic corruption everywhere.
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K.H.B.Mirza Apr 14, 2023 08:03pm
@Tulukan Mairandi, Very right. Bao ji family can continue plundering as long as they want since the country will always be cash strapped.
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Mark Apr 14, 2023 09:07pm
This SC order is "ultra vires" (law) beyond the legal power or authority of a person or official or body etc.
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Abdullah Apr 14, 2023 09:14pm
Wow.Supreme court seems to be a judicial wing of PTI.A nation close to bankruptcy will hold elections and waste money even though the assemblies were desolved intentionally.
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Asim Apr 15, 2023 02:25am
@Maqbool , 18th amend is a receipe for disaster!
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Asim Apr 15, 2023 02:31am
Considering the amount looted and plundered by the ruling elite ...21 billion is just peanuts!
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Saim waseem Apr 15, 2023 03:53am
G ok
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